Memo for fiscal year 2020, updated 2019-04-23

[Archived] Question #74: Please provide online comments received regarding Add/Delete proposals.


Please provide online comments received regarding Add/Delete proposals. (City Manager Jinks)


On Thursday, April 18, FYI Alexandria, the City’s official resident newsletter, was released to the community. The first item of this edition requested community input on final budget proposals.

As of April 23, 2019, at 9:00am, the following comments were received online regarding the City Council Add/Delete proposals. As a reminder, the public comment period on Add/Delete proposals will be open until Sunday, April 28, 2019 at 11:59pm.

Comment #14
As a member of Smart Beginnings Alexandria: an Early Care & Education Workgroup initiative, I support the Early Childhood Capacity Expansion proposal related to Budget Question #18. There has been significant progress building an early childhood system for Alexandria thanks to the efforts of many partners in the City, but ultimately additional funding is required to expand capacity and provide quality services to more eligible children and their families. I also appreciate the language in the proposal recommending that staff prioritize investments that leverage available, external resources. Thank you for your longstanding commitment to early childhood and for proposing this increased investment.

Comment #15
Dear Mayor Wilson, Vice Mayor Bennett-Parker and City Councilors,

The Child & Family Network Centers (CFNC), a member of Smart Beginnings Alexandria and the Early Care and Education Workgroup, applauds your efforts to increase funding for early childhood education in the FY2020 Alexandria City budget. The increased funding is an important step toward ensuring every Alexandria child enters school ready to learn. We commend the effort of the Council and encourage them to find the funds to support this important budget line item. Nobel Laureate James Heckman demonstrated that every dollar invested in high-quality early care and development for children under age five produces a 13 percent return on investment compounded annually. As the city’s largest private provider of the Virginia Preschool initiative (VPI) and serving 138 four-year-old children in Arlandria and the West End, we see firsthand the difference access to high-quality early care and education can make for low-income children in our community. CFNC praises the Council for taking action now to make early childhood care and education a priority. We call on our city leaders to increase your commitment to Alexandria’s children and families via the 2020 city budget.

We know as a community we have more work to do as there is still a large number of children who enter Alexandria kindergarten without a preschool education. Our challenges to expanding capacity are the lack of appropriate and affordable space and the need for matching funding. The actual per child costs to serve a child in a CFNC VPI classroom is somewhere between $12,000 to $13,000. VPI along with the City provide about 52% of those costs and CFNC fundraises the other half of the costs to educate each child in our high-quality program. CFNC is dedicated to our partnership with the City and continuing our investment in early education in Alexandria through fundraising events, private foundation grants and other fundraising initiatives. CFNC is committed to working together to find the space and the money to make sure that every child in Alexandria enters school ready to succeed. In fact, CFNC recently secured a 2395 square foot space in the West End on S. Whiting Street with space enough for three classrooms. However, without matching funds from the City we are not able to serve more children over our current capacity. We have the ability to fundraise about 50% of the costs of educating a child but without the matching funding from the city and state, we do not have the additional funds needed to expand capacity. So, we thank you for taking this important step now to increase City funding in order to reach more children, because investing in early education is an investment in our community and our future. Our organization appreciates the thoughtful efforts taken by Council and we urge every City Councilor to vote in support of the additional funding so more children in our community will be prepared to enter kindergarten ready to learn.

Comment #16
As a member of the Smart Beginnings Alexandria, Early Care and Education Workgroup, I would like to express my support for the additional proposed $200,000 to the FY2020 budget for Early Childhood Capacity Expansion. Our collaborative work as a group over the last couple of years has been particularly meaningful to the vulnerable families that we interface with via our Learn & PlayGroup Program - families who currently are not easily accessing early childhood services. They have benefited greatly from our cross agency communication and information that is seamlessly and easily disseminated, responsive to culturally diverse populations, and presented with dignity.

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